The Buzz

News on transforming care for older adults


    January27 th

    Governor Newsom’s recently released 2022-23 proposed budget includes several changes that impact services for older adults and people with disabilities. See how the proposed budget addresses Master Plan for Aging priorities like health care access and the care economy workforce.

    The Center for Health Care Strategies recently convened innovators who developed seven considerations when designing and refining complex care programs.

    Also, Health Affairs will be hosting a virtual forum tomorrow that highlights key elements from its series on complex care along with the voices of patients, caregivers, and advocates who have firsthand experience in the field.

    January20 th

    A new analysis by ATI Advisory shows that more Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are offering Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI) in 2022. Learn more about which plans are offering which benefits.

    More states are interested in developing Master Plans for Aging (MPAs). Read New York’s announcement, and a recent blog highlighting a podcast on lessons learned in Colorado and Texas.

    To advance MPA activities, the Center for Health Care Strategies seeks Letters of Intent for states to participate in a learning collaborative. The deadline for submission is Monday, January 31.

    California’s MPA has inspired unprecedented levels of coordinated action across the state’s network of aging and disability providers, policymakers, researchers, and advocates. See what’s planned for 2022 and hear from Dr. Mohanty at Friday’s anniversary event.

    January12 th
    1. We are building momentum for Master Plans for Aging across the nation! Our policy brief highlighted states with Master Plans for Aging, shared key elements of those plans, and discussed how states can get started. Just last week, New York’s Governor Hochul committed to develop a Master Plan.
    2. Website visitors continued getting to know TSF staff.
    3. Our 2021 annual forum was last fall. Access the recordings and materials, and learn about other recent events.
    4. Since COVID-19 emerged, Americans have had a lot of time to think about what they want their life to be like, including what it means to age well and equitably. Our popular webpage showcased videos of three older adults who are thriving at home in community.
    5. Visitors kept up to date with our annual Innovation Award. In 2021, we celebrated Covia, a Front Porch Partner, for their Well Connected Program. Empowered Aging and the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living were honorably mentioned. In December, we hosted a webinar to share more about each organization’s achievements.

    For the past decade, AARP Policy Institute’s Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) State Scorecard has offered a way for policymakers to assess state performance as we strive to improve the lives of older adults, people with disabilities, and their family caregivers. With COVID-19 exposing LTSS system challenges, how can we redesign the system and improve our measurement methods? Read the latest AARP blog.

    January5 th

    Through our partnerships with the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (AP-NORC), reporters are sharing the experiences of older adults living in community. The following coverage rounded out 2021:

    • An article in The Washington Post explained how family caregivers are using monitoring technology to keep older loved ones with cognitive decline safe. The piece looked at related issues of affordability, access, and quality of care as well as ethical questions about privacy.
    • How are older adults dealing with ongoing COVID-19 isolation? A Travel + Leisure article recounted one retiree’s experiences and train travels. A Next Avenue piece shared how an intergenerational program in San Francisco expanded its purpose to support older and younger people during the pandemic.
    • Polling explored people’s opinions of telehealth and The Associated Press unpacked how preferences vary based on age, race and ethnicity, education, and income.

    1. You welcomed Dr. Sarita A. Mohanty as our new President and CEO one year ago.
    2. You learned about of our successes, projects, and ongoing work in our 2020 Annual Report.
    3. You explored our 2021 virtual Forum agenda and checked out our annual Innovation Award. You can still catch up on the recordings, get all the materials, and learn more about our 2021 awardee.
    4. You tracked the historic progress of California’s Master Plan for Aging and learned how other states are charting their own course.
    5. Finally, you trusted us to unpack how California’s 2021-22 Budget and Home- and Community-Based Spending Plan are impacting older adults, people with disabilities, and family caregivers.

    California’s Master Plan for Aging has inspired unprecedented levels of coordinated action across the state’s network of aging and disability providers, policymakers, researchers, and advocates. See what’s planned for 2022 and hear from Dr. Mohanty at the January 21 anniversary event.

    Fireworks celebrating the one year anniversary of the Master Plan for Aging.

    December16 th

    An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (AP-NORC) poll finds that preferences for telehealth vary based on age, race and ethnicity, education, and income. Appointment availability and avoiding COVID-19 are top reasons respondents chose telehealth, but many older adults, especially people of color, have concerns related to access and quality.

    “The expanded use of telehealth provides a tremendous opportunity to rethink how we provide health care through the lens of equity and inclusion,” said Dr. Sarita A. Mohanty, President & CEO of The SCAN Foundation. “Older adults see telehealth as a faster, more convenient, and in some cases more affordable way to access care. Addressing their concerns about access to technology and quality of care could go a long way to expanding its use even further.”

    Read the related Associated Press coverage.

    Graphs depicting most nonwhite adults concerns about using telehealth

    Older adults can age well in their community of choice with proper supports and services. This can take the form of family, friends, neighbors, and even community centers where older adults can connect with people their own age. Watch as three older adults share their stories.

    Older woman and daughter in nursery.

    California’s Master Plan for Aging calls for the modernization of the state’s Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP). Recommendations focus on ways to reach more Medicare beneficiaries and prioritize equity in their service offerings. Learn more.

    December8 th

    The 2021 Innovation Award recognized organizations that employ human-centered design principles to build and/or modify products, programs, or services that help older Californians thrive. Join our webinar tomorrow at 12 pm PT to learn how human-centered design principles were implemented by this year’s winner and honorable mentions.

    A Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy brief highlights policy opportunities to advance home-based care for Medicare beneficiaries, and research explores leveraging payment reforms to support people with complex needs at home.

    Finally, a report from the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution shares insights on transforming our long-term care system.

    Learn the who, what, where, and how of home and community-based services (HCBS) in a new fact sheet from AARP as part of a series on transforming long-term services and supports (LTSS) as part of the LTSS State Scorecard.

    More states are considering their own Master Plan for Aging (MPA). Read about state activity, see what New York state is doing, and get started with this toolkit and related webinar.

    December1 st

    Since COVID-19 emerged, Americans have had a lot of time to think about what they want their life to be like, including what it means to age well and equitably. Watch three older adults who are thriving at home in community with the support of loved ones.

    This work is one example of how our communication partners give voice to issues of aging and support enhanced storytelling. Learn more.

    Building on lessons during COVID-19, a new National Academy of Medicine paper outlines priority actions and policy considerations for centering patients, families, and communities in health care delivery. Read a related report examining the care system’s pandemic response. 

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many inefficiencies in the nation’s long-term care (LTC) system. A recent Health Affairs blog looks at the impact of payment policies on nursing facilities. Another discusses state approaches for stabilizing the direct care work force through American Rescue Plan Act funds.

    November17 th

    New research from Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA) and ATI Advisory offers insights and policy recommendations on Medicare Advantage (MA) nonmedical supplemental benefits. Learn about who is providing what services, and how the landscape has evolved.

    • Progress report – Delivering on the Promise of the CHRONIC Care Act: Progress in Implementing Nonmedical Supplemental Benefits
    • Policy brief – Delivering on the Promise of the CHRONIC Care Act: Policy Recommendations for the Biden Administration to Advance Nonmedical Supplemental Benefits
    • Webinar recording – Delivering on the Promise of the CHRONIC Care Act: The Future of Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefits

    As we get older, the majority of us will need some nonmedical help to remain independent. Learn how our grantees are championing solutions to finance nonmedical needs and advance key Medicare-Medicaid flexibilities from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

    Our monthlong series explored aging and engaging with our health care and long-term care systems. We highlighted personal experiences of older Californians, consulted with experts, and captured visual summaries.

    The Forum culminated with a poem written in real time bringing us back to the heart of the matter: What do we mean by “aging well” and “aging equitably”? View all the Forum recordings and resources.

    Illustration created by graphic recorder Christopher Fuller of Griot's Eye Inc. This illustration summarizes the major themes and ideas that were discussed during The SCAN Foundation's 2021 Forum: Amplifying All Voices in Aging. The graphic is divided into four quadrants. The top left quadrant represents week 1: "Amplifying All Voices in Long-Term Services and Supports Systems Transformation: California State of the State" and some of the selected highlights are: 1) a simple icon representing the COVID-19 shape with white text that says, "COVID-19 has been challenging, but let's not waste the opportunity it gives us!" 2) Next to the COVID-19 drawing is a drawing of a pie with the word "equity" carved into it. Surrounding the pie is the text, "budget planning: Bake equity in!" 3) a drawing of a megaphone that announces, "bring in more voices!" Then in the top right quadrant, the artist has summarized week 2 "From Theory to Practice: Delivering Care for People with Complex Needs" with the following highlights: 1) a drawing of an open toolbox that is labeled "The complex care toolkit." The toolkit's features are listed as: "building blocks for training; guidelines for hiring and attitudes; and case studies." 2) A drawing of a woman's face with an accompanying word balloon that says, "I know, because I've been there." This drawing is headlined by the words, "empathy" and "value the lived experience." 3) a drawing of three people that represents a well-trained interdisciplinary, diverse, care team. The bottom left quadrant features illustrated highlights from week 3 "Transforming Medicare and Medicaid Beyond COVID-19 for a Person-Centered Future." Some of its highlights are: 1) A drawing showing a barn versus a city skyline with the header, "let's expand remote services beyond rural!" 2) A drawing of a nurse practitioner administering an IV with the header "Stabilize the workforce with people working above their license." 3) A drawing of a daughter and her older father having a video visit with a doctor. The header for this illustration is "Telehealth benefits all!" The bottom right quadrant is week 4 "A Future Vision for Aging Well and Equitably Beyond COVID: Reflections from Public Health, Media, and Technology Leaders." The artist has captured two main highlights from that session that both show the importance of storytelling. The first graphic shows a grandmother having a video visit on her computer with her grandchildren. This image is juxtaposed with an older homeless man holding a sign that says, "no food, no home, no water, no power, no wifi." Above their graphic is the header, "make stories personable!" And below the drawing is the words, "make broadband accessible!" The second graphic captured by the artist is a quote from the poem, "Ode to Aging Well and Equitably" by Brian Sonia-Wallace that was created for the 2021 Forum. The quote is: "hidden inequalities cry for storytellers." Tying the four quadrants together is a centerpiece illustration featuring a diverse group of adults, including one man in a wheelchair, family, health care workers, and community members that jointly hold a large sign featuring the name of the event: "2021 Forum: Amplifying All Voices In Aging."

    November10 th

    Join us November 18 for Aging as a Women’s Equity Issue: Forging a Path Forward with California’s Master Plan for Aging, hosted in partnership with the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care. Register to hear policymakers and experts discuss women and aging, and opportunities in the 2021-22 legislative session.

    The Support and Services at Home (SASH) model meets people where they are, integrating housing with community-based services and health care to coordinate services. An article in Generations Today explores how SASH is being used in different states.

    A recent Aging and Disability Business Institute profile explores Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore and My Care Family Accountable Care Organization (ACO) partnership. The alliance resulted in better health outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries and the expansion of contracts to address social needs, including housing and nutrition.

    November4 th

    Join the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) on November 15 as they launch the Getting Started with a Master Plan for Aging toolkit. CHCS will outline the eight key “building blocks” that state leaders, advocates, industry leaders, and other interested stakeholders can use to gain governor and legislature support for an MPA in their states. Leaders from California will also share their experience.

    Also, read a blog from the National Conference of State Legislatures on how states should consider home- and community-based services in light of the American Rescue Plan Act.

    Word cloud related to the Master Plan for Aging.

    At last week’s Forum, we celebrated Covia, a Front Porch Partner, for its Well Connected Program! Well Connected is a virtual community created through human-centered design principles to improve the lives of older adults. Watch a video about the Innovation Award winner and see which organizations received Honorable Mention.

    Older woman sharing her experience with the Well Connected Español program.

    October26 th

    We hope you’ve enjoyed our virtual 2021 Forum: Amplifying All Voices in Aging. It’s not too late to watch previous weeks’ recordings and register for our final session!

    Tomorrow, TSF President & CEO Sarita A. Mohanty will moderate a futurist discussion on how to reimagine and build a society where all populations can age well. We’re looking forward to hearing insights from experts in the fields of public health, media, and technology. In addition, we’ll recognize the recipient of our 2021 Innovation Award. See you there!

    Journalists from the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley are sharing the experiences of older adults living in community through an equity lens. Recent coverage includes:

    • ‘It Makes a Humongous Difference’: Lack of Wi-Fi in City Single-Room Occupancy Hotels Deepens Residents’ Isolation (San Francisco Chronicle)
    • Hope and Disappointment for the Homeless in Oakland (The New York Times)
    • ‘How Am I Going to Keep This Up?’ COVID Intensifies Plight of Family Caregivers (CalMatters)

    Also, summer polling from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (AP-NORC) showed Americans generally think their communities offer the services needed to age at home. Yet, people of color and people with lower incomes are less likely to report their area does a good job providing health care, transportation, and in-home supports, among other services.

    Join ATI Advisory and Long-Term Quality Alliance on November 16 to hear the latest research insights and policy recommendations for nonmedical supplemental benefits in Medicare Advantage (MA).